'The pitch could trigger a bigger shock than when we beat Tottenham'

Pompey may need a miracle to beat Chelsea – but these three FA Cup final giant-killers know nothing is impossible at Wembley
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The Independent Football

Trevor Brooking

West Ham 1-0 Arsenal, 1980

We were in the old Second Division while Arsenal had come fourth in the First but we were developing into a good side and our expectations were high.

Defensively it was probably the best unit I played in front of: Phil Parkes in goal, Ray Stewart, a young Alvin Martin, Billy Bonds and Frank Lampard. We had Alan Devonshire, myself, Geoff Pike and Paul Allen in midfield, and Stuart Pearson and David Cross up front. The following year we ran away with promotion and with almost the same team became established in the First Division.

Arsenal were holders but it was their 68th match of their season and they were tired. It was a hot day and after we scored it was difficult for them because we were good at keeping the ball. The goal came in the 13th minute. Devonshire went to the byline and crossed, Cross had a shot blocked then Pearson shot across goal and I just diverted it with my head. It was very unusual for me to score with my head but I knew what I was doing.

I didn't think it would be the only goal but we didn't have many scares. Tactically Pearson dropped into midfield to make a 4-5-1 which was unheard of at the time but it stifled their midfield. The senior players were always encouraged by Ron Greenwood and John Lyall to change things ourselves, but we never felt we needed to. On the day we deserved to win.

Portsmouth can do the same, but it would be the biggest shock since our final. If they score first it could be interesting.

Steve Ogrizovic

Coventry City 3-2 Tottenham, 1987

Two days before the game my daughter Rachel was born. She was overdue and had to be induced. The doctor said he'd do it Saturday afternoon. My face fell, but I think he was setting me up. We were a team of solid pros while they were full of internationals, Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Chris Waddle, Gary Mabbutt, Clive Allen, but we weren't in awe. We had a good balance, we'd finished in the top 10 and beaten Spurs in the league.

We had joint-managers, John Sillett and George Curtis, who said: "Enjoy the occasion but don't forget why we are here, to play well and win." The last thing John said was: "For God's sake keep it tight early on." Allen scored in the second minute. It was his 49th goal that season and it crossed my mind that it was written that he'd get his 50th in the final, but Dave Bennett soon equalised. They scored again just before half-time, I was caught in two minds about a cross and it ended up going in off Brian Kilcline's knee. But at half-time John just said: "Keep doing what you're doing." Keith Houchen got that famous diving header and in extra-time we scored when a cross was deflected in off Mabbutt's knee.

The win put a smile on the face of the city. For weeks it would take forever to get round the supermarket for people stopping you, people who were not usually interested in football. I still work at the club and live locally and there's rarely a day goes by without someone mentioning 1987.

A Pompey win will be a bigger shock than ours but the pitch gives them a chance. They will remember being a minute away from being knocked out by Coventry in the fourth round and tell themselves they are fated to win.

Lawrie Sanchez

Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool, 1988

The night before we were staying at the Cannizaro Hotel near Wimbledon Common and myself and Bez [Dave Beasant] were a bit bored so we went for a walk. We then went to see Bobby Gould [the manager] to see if we could go to the pub and he said: "Here's £50, have a drink on me." So went round the corner to the Fox and Grapes to have a pint. People say we got drunk but that's not the case, certainly not for the five or six who were there to start with. Some of the locals were talking to us and then a woman came in and said her father had played for the club when they played on the common. We left about 10.

We were underdogs but we finished seventh in the First Division that year. We had some very good players like Dennis Wise, Dave Beasant, John Scales and Andy Thorn who left for big money shortly afterwards. People didn't take us seriously but we'd won at Anfield the previous year.

Portsmouth have to negate Chelsea's strengths. For us that meant doubling up on John Barnes and denying Alan Hansen time on the ball. Our strengths were set-plays and we had them off pat. I had scored with a header from a Dennis Wise free-kick the week before and did so at Wembley. When Dave Beasant saved the penalty I knew we were going to win.

My brother made more money from the game than I did. He had a bet on me to score at 33-1 but we didn't have any bonuses for winning the FA Cup written into our contracts. We'd never thought we would win it.

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